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#162: Aftershock

#162: Aftershock
Odd Spot - The Age - 26/07/2022

Grace took a quiet sip from her mug. The green label dangling over her fingers as she raised it to her mouth.

Peter watched her. There was a calmness in her he didn’t recognise. And that angered him even further.

This had been a dance neither of them wanted, but all too often, they went over the choreographed steps. Accusations were the steady beat that inflamed them both. The older the grudge, the angrier they both got.

Grace lowered her mug gently to the table and wrapped both hands around it. Steam rose in delicate tendrils.

She just watched him as he stood at the door, as if this were an earthquake and the safest place for him was at the threshold to their kitchen.

This quietness from her was an aftershock, capable of more damage.

He knew what she was about to say. And he felt a fool for not seeing it earlier, or for being the one to decide himself.

Grace saw Peter’s stance relax. Every fibre of her being didn’t want to utter the words, but then every fibre of her being couldn’t keep doing this. And the way his shoulders slouched forward, she could see he knew she couldn’t keep going, wouldn’t keep going.

Peter almost imperceptibly shook his head. Grace nodded.

And it was done.

Peter walked out to his car. He drove down the street and parked in front of the children’s playground where he used to take the kids.

With only the streetlights casting their artificial sunset glow as company, Peter punched and yelled into his empty future.